Link About It: This Week’s Picks

Badass taxi drivers, helping the trans community, Leonardo da Vinci's eye condition and more in our look around the web

Help the Transgender Community Fight Harmful Policies

In a new memo, the Trump administration (through the Department of Health and Human Services) is attempting to “legally define gender as a biological condition determined by a person’s genitalia at birth”—an inherently transphobic act. This will strip trans, non-binary, and intersex people of many deserved rights. Of course, in times like this it’s crucial to speak, act and remain hopeful—and Teen Vogue has offered up a list of ways we can all support the transgender community. From rallying to donating money or simply reaching out to friends, the list is comprehensive and helpful. Read more at Teen Vogue.

The Badass Costumed Taxi Drivers of Nairobi

In Nairobi, motorbike taxis—known as “boda-bodas”—are oftentimes the best option for avoiding traffic. During a recent visit, photographer Jan Hoek noticed that noticed a well-designed, almost costumed boda-boda—it looked a lot like Nicholas Cage’s motorcycle in Ghost Rider. Inspired to create a photo series, Hoek teamed up with Ugandan fashion designer Bobbin Case, and seven drivers in the Kenyan capital got costumed to match their bike. The result is badass—and best of all, many of the riders have continued to wear elements of their costumes while driving around Nairobi. See the series at Wired.

Leonardo da Vinci’s Ultra-Rare Eye Condition

According to new research, Leonardo da Vinci’s ability to understand distance and depth is the result of an ultra-rare eye condition known as exotropia. This condition turns one pupil outward, limiting the traditional understanding of depth when looking at things—which essentially would have turned the world around da Vinci into a flat canvas. This unique perspective, the new study claims, made it easier for the artist to convert the world he saw into the artwork he created—establishing fascinating takes on structural dimension. Read more at CNN.

Over 400,000 Registered to Vote Through Snapchat

Snapchat revealed to the New York Times that during a two-week period the application encouraged (and succeeded) 418,000 users register to vote. With a new button on each user’s page, the application directed them to site called TurboVote—where a survey gauged their views, determined their location and then directed them to the local outlets where they could register. “There is no more powerful form of self-expression than the ability to vote,” Jennifer Stout, Snap’s global head of public policy, says. Read more about the initiative Snap—and other platforms—are running at the New York Times.

Ford’s Driverless Car Fleet to Launch in Washington DC

Starting next year, Ford will test a fleet of self-driving cars throughout Washington DC. This comes before launching a full, commercial autonomous driving program in the city (and others) come 2021. Many developers of similar programs are vying for cities of their own—Uber in Pittsburgh and Google’s Waymo in Phoenix. Regulation over self-driving vehicles is quite loose right now, and it will be interesting to chart developments in the nation’s capital. Read more at the Washington Post.

Thousands of Swedes Opt for Microchips Under Their Skin

For $180 it’s possible to get a microchip, roughly the size of a grain of rice, inserted between one’s thumb and forefinger. In fact, about 4,000 Swedes have done this so far, with a company like Biohax International or its competitors. Designed to “speed up users’ daily routines and make their lives more convenient—accessing their homes, offices and gyms is as easy as swiping their hands against digital readers,” the microchip contains identification information, emergency contact details and more. It could even connect to social media profiles or e-tickets. But for all the hyper-connectivity it offers, concerns center around hacking. Read more about the process, developments and fears at NPR.

The McLaren Speedtail

McLaren unveiled the Speedtail today, their first-ever “Hyper-GT.” It’s the fastest, most aerodynamic and most powerful McLaren ever, and all 106 of the $2,250,000 cars are already spoken for. Its three-seat formation (with the driver in the center) isn’t street-legal in the US because its design eliminates the space where side airbags are installed, and it boasts retractable cameras where side-view mirrors usually are. Read more about the rules one would have to follow in order to own one at Road and Track.

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Monster Energy Cup Supercross Series

A Las Vegas event like no other

Anything but a “regular” supercross race, this year’s three-event Monster Energy Cup (now in its seventh year) was different for a few reasons. Not only was the prize money absurd ($250,000 with an additional $1 million for a triple-win), but there was a chance for a fan to win the same amount. Prior to the Las Vegas event, a sweepstakes was held with 10 winners from around …

Link About It: This Week’s Picks

The world's earliest drawing, talking trees, uncensored video games and more

Ise Gropius aka Mrs Bauhaus

Walter Gropius is the name most commonly attached to the wildly influential Bauhaus movement, but his wife Ise was an equally significant creative partner. Oftentimes remembered as a “widow, archivist, interpreter and promoter of his work,” Ise has her own powerful legacy beyond this. As Katy Kelleher writes for Artsy, “From her handmade headdresses to her carefully planted garden to her experiments with photography, Ise’s entire life was her art.” She collaborated with her husband on many projects, wrote essays on fashion and design, and (after Walter died) ran their house like a museum in order to share it with the public. Find out more about “Mrs Bauhaus,” Ise Gropius at Artsy.

The Aboriginal Artist Finally Being Shown in America

John Mawurndjul—an Aboriginal artist living in the remote community of Maningrida—is highly regarded in Australia and across Europe. While his art has garnered praise from critics proclaiming him as “one of our greatest artists of all time,” it (and other work by Indigenous Australians) is not commonly shown in the United States. To rectify that, two Miami-based collectors, Dennis and Debra Scholl, will be giving over 200 pieces from their private collection to three different US museums. “This, folks, is what contemporary art looks like. You might not recognize it. The worldview it comes out of might feel deeply, wondrously foreign. But that is part of what draws the eye to it,” Sebastian Smee of the Washington Post writes. Find out more at the WP.

Frieze Art Fair’s First-Ever Los Angeles Edition

The internationally renowned Frieze Art Fair will make its LA debut next year (14-17 February) and promises to feature a long and impressive list of exhibitors, hosts and a rich music program. The entirety of the event will take place in Paramount Studios, but organizers are working diligently to guarantee attendees know they’re in Los Angeles and not some staged set. “All Frieze fairs are international, but it’s also important that they reflect the city and country that they’re in, so Frieze wanted to ensure a focused and thoughtful selection of galleries,” Frieze LA’s representative tells artnet. With that in mind, 20 of the fair’s 70 galleries are LA-based. Read more on artnet.

It Seems Trees Actually Can “Talk”

“Hub trees”—a name for the oldest and tallest trees with the vastest root systems—have better access to sunlight than other trees and this leads them to create excess sugar. That sugar is distributed through their roots, underground, to fungi. These fungi, that need sugar to survive, spread their threads (known as Mycelium) through the root system of trees to absorb excess sugar. In return, the Mycelium enter the root’s innermost point and exchange water and nutrients for the stolen sugar. This connection, as it spreads just below the surface of the earth, becomes a symbiotic web—used for communication, exchange and crisis management. Dubbed mycorrhiza, this system lets trees “talk.” Learn more about their language on National Geographic.

North America’s Cabin Typology Explored

In the Cabin Fever exhibition, at the Vancouver Art Gallery, dozens of images, artifacts and paraphernalia trace the development of the North American cabin—from the 1600s to present day. Stepping beyond architecture and typology, the exhibit addresses the cabin’s changing role in culture—from simple shelter to idyllic lodging. Curated by California-based writer Jennifer M Volland, the gallery’s senior curator Bruce Grenville, and associate curator Stephanie Rebick, there’s even a full-size prepper’s cabin on site. Read more at Dezeen.

The Slowest Porsche Race Ever

Though Porsche technically never made tractors, Porsche-branded ones still exist—some designed by Ferdinand Porsche were produced under license by a number of different companies. This Porsche stamp is good enough to grant entry into the sixth Rennsport Reunion. Organizers claim this race will be the first of its kind, and the race’s format is rightfully unique, too. Drivers will have to run across the track to start their tractors en route to the finish line; an abbreviated version of WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca will host the race. This leg of the track will take most tractors 15 minutes to conquer. Read more about the Porsche tractor race at Popular Mechanics.

Moto Guzzi Teases V9 Bobber Variant

The V9 Bobber Sport from Moto Guzzi was previewed with a single image released last week. For 2019, the brand will give “the V9 Bobber the extra edge raining it with top-spec equipment and new color schemes,” as well as a bit of a body change. Vintage ’70s-era styling meets futurism in the Centro Stile Piaggio Group and Piaggio Advanced Design Centre-handled design. Visible upgrades include Ohlins shocks, fork gaiters and a chopped rear fender. The mechanics of the bike will apparently remain the same. Little more is known right now, but you can read more about the teaser on Top Speed.

Researchers May Have Found the Earliest Drawing

In South Africa’s Blombos Cave, researchers have discovered what is believed to be the world’s earliest drawing. The drawing—a crosshatch made on one rock using another—predates other uncovered art by a whopping 30,000 years. Researchers claim, though, that this by no means makes the Blombos Cave people artists, rather it identifies their interest in “graphical designs,” says Chantal Tribolo from Bordeaux Montaigne University. The team admits that what the drawer was trying to convey remains unknown (and it may forever), but this discovery widens our scope of knowledge on early-human communication. Read more about the discovery, and what this drawing could mean on The Atlantic.

The First “100% Uncensored” Game is Finally Playable

Steam, the widely popular and incredibly expansive catalog of PC video games, has approved its first “100% uncensored” game. This comes on the heels of years of turmoil between developers and Steam executives. Representatives for Steam admit that the discrepancy between “adult games” and pornography was halting the genre rollout—they didn’t want people to see explicit content if they didn’t intend to. But Negligee: Love Stories, one of a handful of games that was removed from Steam for content deemed explicit and lewd, will return to the catalog tomorrow, 14 September. Read more about the content conundrum on Ars Technica.

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